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Max Schmeling

Risks Life To Save Lewin's Sons

For two days, Schmeling hid Lewin's sons in his hotel suite, sharing with them everything he had. Eventually, the entire Lewin family was able to escape Nazi Germany. They fled to a Jewish enclave in Shanghai, where they ended up captives of the Japanese. Finally, they were able to make their way to the United States, where the family settled. Looking back on the incident at a dinner to honor Schmeling in 1989, Henri Lewin recalled: "Max was a man of the highest quality. If they had caught him hiding us, they would have shot him. Let me tell you: If I had been Max Schmeling in Germany in 1938, I wouldn't have done it." Although Schmeling attended the 1989 Las Vegas dinner in his honor, he made it clear that he didn't like being "glorified."

Schmeling in 1939 regained the German heavyweight title by knocking out Adolf Heuser in the first round of their match in Stuttgart. Not long thereafter, Schmeling was forced to pay the price for his long-running refusal to join the Nazi party. In 1940, at the age of thirty-four, he was inducted into Wehrmacht as a private. Assigned to the paratroopers, Schmeling in May 1941 jumped into Crete, where he was knocked unconscious upon landing and captured by British troops. His failure to condemn his treatment by his British captors further infuriated Nazi officials.

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Famous Sports StarsBoxingMax Schmeling Biography - Born In German Village Of Uckermark, Faces Off Against U.s. Boxers, Chronology - SELECTED WRITINGS BY SCHMELING: